Austin opens affordable housing funding program for nonprofits, seeks volunteers to review city spending

New opportunities for affordable housing development and oversight in Austin will open this year. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
New opportunities for affordable housing development and oversight in Austin will open this year. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

New opportunities for affordable housing development and oversight in Austin will open this year. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

New opportunities for affordable housing development and oversight in Austin have opened for both nonprofits and city residents.

City funding for nonprofits interested in buying land and building new affordable projects is now available through Austin's Community Acquisition Program. Funding is reserved for nonprofits that have a history in affordable housing development, leasing and sales in the city, and will be provided through both forgivable and non-forgivable loans at 0% interest.

Following review and approval, loans will be given out on a rolling basis until program funding runs out, the city said. Nonprofits interested in participating in the housing acquisition plan can review Austin's program guidelines and submit applications to the city housing department.

Funding will support purchases of smaller properties up to 1 acre in size only. The properties must also be located in areas at risk of gentrification and within 1 mile of planned future Project Connect lines, mainly within Central Austin and East Austin.
Properties eligible for purchase and use as affordable housing through the Community Acquisition Program are mainly located throughout the city's central and eastern corridors. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Eligible properties near future Project Connect lines are located within the black outline. The city categorizes areas shaded in pink as experiencing active displacement, blue areas as experiencing "chronic" displacement and orange areas as vulnerable to displacement. (Screenshot via city of Austin)


The Community Acquisition Program stems from the anti-displacement component of Project Connect, the $7.1 billion transit package approved by city voters in November 2020. Included in that multi-billion-dollar plan is $300 million dedicated to anti-displacement initiatives designed to combat gentrification and support affordable housing.

Anti-displacement strategies identified in Project Connect outlines range from affordable housing development and preservation to home repair assistance, rental subsidies and "right-to-return" rehousing programs.


The new nonprofit funding initiative comes alongside the city's own push to buy an existing 100- to 300-unit multifamily complex with Project Connect anti-displacement funds, setting up dozens of housing units for long-term affordability. City staff said last November that that purchase could be completed by late 2022.

Affordable projects review

Alongside the local funding program, the city also announced Jan. 3 that it is seeking new members to join its Housing Investment Review Committee, or HIRC, to review how Austin's own affordable housing investments are faring.

Affordable housing remains a stated priority for City Council through late 2021 and now into 2022, and city land purchases and other housing investments are continuing as well. The city said the HIRC is tasked with reviewing the city's selections for both rental and ownership housing developments that in 2021 sent tens of millions of dollars in city support to new home, apartment and condominium projects.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the HIRC and reviewing submissions to Austin's Rental Housing Development Assistance and Ownership Housing Development Assistance has until Feb. 1 to apply. An application, resume, headshot and background information are required for participation, with a preference for anyone experienced in housing development, research, law or with a personal history of housing instability.

More information on applying for the HIRC is available through Ellis Morgan at the housing department at 512-974-3121 or [email protected]
By Ben Thompson

Austin City Hall Reporter

Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. He spent more than two years reporting on Montgomery County and The Woodlands area before moving to Austin in 2021 to cover City Hall and other news throughout the city. Contact Ben with questions, tips or feedback at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @BThompson_CI.